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Whenever a person gets to know that his DTH connection supports surround sound like Dolby Digital (DD) or Dolby Digital Plus (DD+), the first thought which comes to mind is to hear this surround sound. Everyone attempts to first connect the 5.1 / 7.1 multimedia speakers which they use for their desktop computer to the DTH. But people get stuck when they are unable to find the proper port / jack at the back of their set top box to connect the computer speakers. This article explains how to get the surround sound experience at your home with Set Top Box provided by any DTH provider of any country. The explanation is in very simple terms which can be understood by a newbie. But before going into detail lets understand the technology behind dth and the surround sound which it provides in very easy to understand words.

Think of a case where 5 pillows are to be taken to a place B from place A in a suitcase. But the capacity of suitcase is not sufficient to carry 5 pillows. What to do now? Buying a new suitcase is not a solution as its very costly. So we decide to wrap all 5 pillows in a plastic sheet then compress the set of 5 pillows by creating a very high vacuum inside the plastic sheet. This results in the set of 5 pillows to occupy very less space and pillows can now come in the suitcase. Suppose after using this compression the pillows are taken to place B. At place B, the pillows can't be used as they are wrapped in a sheet and due to vacuum they have become too hard. To make them usable again they need to be uncompressed and taken out from the plastic sheet.

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The same happens with DTH Service. Pillows are the signals of audio and video which needs to come from DTH Broadcasting Center to your home. But the wireless path from DTH office to your home via a satellite is not having the capacity to carry the signals in uncompressed form. And renting new path (new satellite) is extremely costly. So the only option left is to compress / encode the signal using technologies like MPEG-4 for video and Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital + for audio. These audio and video signals are compressed and then sent over to your home but as the pillows were unusable in the same way these signals are of no use until decompressed / decoded. The set top box provided by your service provided is responsible for decoding the video signals from MPEG-4. But STB is not equipped with software and hardware to decode sound. It cannot extract the 5.1 or 7.1 sounds from the incoming signal and provide it to you through its outputs where your multimedia speakers can be connected. Click next to read more and also learn how to connect home theater system to set top box and get to know about some of the best and cheap home theater systems available in market.


This answers one of the very important questions which is how to connect multimedia computer speakers to Set Top Box. The answer is they cannot be connected as the STB is not equipped with sufficient hardware to provide ports / jack for connectivity. A workaround to this situation is to connect the speakers with RCA pins Red and White. to the Set top Box. This connection will provide the speakers system 2 Channel stereo input. Then using the functionality of your multimedia speaker system convert it to 5.1 / 7.1. But this is not the Dolby Digital sound which you actually want to listen too but a cheap workaround. You will never be able to enjoy the sound which content producers wanted you to experience.

The STB which you have at home has only 2 ports at the back, the optical out and the HDMI out. Optical out supports only audio of up to 5.1 channels (Dolby Digital) whereas the HDMI supports Video as well as audio of up to 7.1 channels (Dolby Digital +). Here are the steps to enjoy surround sound at your home.

Things Required:

  1. A High Definition (HD) Set Top Box that supports 5.1 / 7.1 Dolby Digital sound.
  2. HD Channels like Star Movies HD, Discovery HD, Nat Geo HD.
  3. A Full HD Television to enjoy HD Video.
  4. AVR / DAC i.e Audio Video Receiver or Digital to Analog Converter.
  5. A Speaker system set compatible as per the specifications of AVR.

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You very well know about all the above items except for the last 2. AVR is a device which takes as input the optical / HDMI out provided by the set top box and gives as output one HDMI for going to TV and 14 analog outs to connect 7 speakers (Each speaker needs 2 to get connected) It also provides a special port to connect the sub woofer(.1 output). The job of AVR is to separate Video and Audio from the HDMI cable coming from STB, and send the video through a different HDMI cable to TV and then process the Audio before sending it out to speakers. The processing involves decoding / decompressing the audio to the format which can be understood by normal speakers. The technology of Dolby Digital ends at AVR and what you get as output is the analog signal for speakers. The normal multimedia speakers can now be connected to AVR, which previously were unable to get connected to the STB directly. But unfortunately the power of signal generated by the AVR is extremely high for the multimedia speakers of the computer and if you try to connect them to AVR, result will be a blast. To be clear the speakers will blast and this may also damage your AVR, if you connect small multimedia speakers to AVR. The solution to this problem is to buy a Speaker Set which is compatible with your AVR. Go through the specification of the AVR before purchase of speakers and buy only those speakers which are compatible with your AVR.

This complete Set of AVR with Speakers and a HD TV / Projector makes, what we call as the Home Theater System. A small piece of advice to Indians, Prefer not to buy from local market as the local shops charge a huge amount. Its better to get the AVR and speaker systems imported from USA and pay import duty. You have to pay less this way. Click next for a summary of steps required to connect home theater system to DTH and to know about some of the best and cheap Home Theater / AVR systems available in market


Lets summarize the steps which you have to do:

  1. Get a HD TV / Projector, HD Set Top Box with HD Channels and Dolby Digital + Support.
  2. Buy AVR and 7.1 Speaker Set.
  3. Connect 7 Speakers and a sub woofer with AVR.
  4. Connect Set Top Box with AVR using HDMI (For 7.1) or Optical (For 5.1).
  5. Connect TV and AVR with HDMI.
  6. Switch to a HD Channel and enjoy the surround sound.

About the Author

AuthorVikram Singh: Vikram Singh    Webpage


About me: I am a PhD scholar at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras. I like to write about different topics which are related to Academics, Computer Science and Technology. I would love to resolve your queries, regarding this article. Please leave your questions / suggestions in the comments section below. I will reply to them as soon as possible.




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